Try to Pronounce the Names of These 12 Michigan Destinations (#7 is a Tongue Twister!)

Have you ever wondered how Michigan was named Michigan? Before colonization, the now Great Lakes State was home to at least eight Native American tribes throughout the land, one of which being the Ojibwe Indians. The Ojibwe were the first people to openly interact with the French in Michigan, trading furs and knowledge of the area for guns and goods. Through translation, the state of Michigan was named after the Ojibwe Indian word “Michigama,” which means “great lake” or “land surrounded by water.”

With this in mind, we invite you to take a look at some other uniquely-named destinations found across the Great Lakes State.

Blog_Make-It-Mackinac_Grand-Hotel

1. Mackinac Island. This is an easy one. If you’re a native Michigander, you know that this popular Northern Michigan destination is correctly pronounced “Mackinaw Island”. Tourists have visited Mackinac Island in the summers to escape the heat of the cities for hundreds of years. Condé Nast Traveler magazine added Mackinac Island to its “World’s Best” list as one of the top 10 islands in the world. In December 2007 National Geographic Traveler magazine named Mackinac Island as the top island destination in the United States and 8th in the world. Don’t forget the fudge!

2. Tahquamenon. One of Michigan’s most popular waterfalls, Tahquamenon Falls, can be found in the Upper Peninsula in appropriately named Paradise, MI. If you’ve ever wondered how to correctly pronounce the falls, it rhymes with “phenomenon.”

3. Ypsilanti. Ip-sill-ann-tee, or Ypsi to those who know it well, is located just down the road from Ann Arbor. Home to Eastern Michigan University, the city was originally a trading post set up in 1809 and called Woodruff’s Grove after Major Thomas Woodruff. The name was later changed to Ypsilanti in 1829 in honor of Demetrius Ypsilanti. Ypsilanti was a hero in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire.

4. Menominee.  Menominee (Men-om-in-e) is located at the gateway between the Upper Peninsula and Northeastern Wisconsin. This Pure Michigan destination gets its name from a regional Native American tribe known as the Menominee, which translates into “Wild Rice.” The area was originally the home of the Menominee Indian Tribe, who now have a reservation along Wolf River in Northern Wisconsin. Visitors can enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking and much more.

Mikel-B-Classen-300x225

 5. Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo! If you’ve traveled north of the Mackinac Bridge, you’ve probably passed through the town of Soo-Saynt-Ma-Ree. The Soo is home to many Michigan treasures, such as the Soo Locks and Lake Superior State University. If you do venture north, you’ll discover the rushing waterfalls that give way to majestic forests, rocky coastlines leading to picturesque lighthouses and engineering feats of man stand side-by-side with small fishing skiffs and buckets of bait.

 6. Hamtramck. Hamtramck (Ham-tram-ick) grew into a Polish enclave between 1910 and 1920 when large number of Polish laborers arrived seeking employment. Today, Hamtramck includes many different ethnic groups, but maintains its Polish identify as can be found in the shops, restaurants and bakeries in the area with a pierogi and a paczki.

kitch-iti-kipi-viewing-raft1-198x300

 7. Kitch-iti-kipi. Pronounced Kitch-i-tee-ki-pee (say that five times fast!) is another U.P. gem located in scenic Palms Book State Park. Known as “The Big Spring”, Michigan’s largest freshwater spring is two hundred feet across and 40 feet deep. Over 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone as the flow continues throughout the year at a constant 45 degree Fahrenheit. By means of a self-operated observation raft, visitors are guided to vantage points overlooking fascinating underwater features and fantasies.

8. Dowagiac. The Grand Old City of southwestern Michigan. Dowagiac, pronounced deh-wah-jak, is nestled within the Fruit Belt, the city is surrounded by rolling farmlands and abundant orchards.  Enjoy fishing, canoeing, boating, water skiing and ice fishing.  Be sure to tour the historic train depot, too

9. Charlotte. If you’ve been pronouncing Charlotte like the city in North Carolina, guess again! Shar-lot (Not Char-lit) is located southwest of Lansing and home to some of the most beautiful historical buildings in Michigan. Charlotte annually welcomes visitors to experience the Eaton County Fair in mid-July and the pioneer spirit of the ever-popular Frontier Days in early September.

10. Bete Grise. Beet grease, you say? Not quite! Bay-dee-gree can be found southwest of Copper Harbor on Keweenaw County’s south shore. Bete Grise (French for “Grey Beast”) has a beautiful white sand beach as well as a wetland preserve stretching along Lake Superior.

11. Baraga. Bare-uh-gah is named after Bishop Frederick Baraga, located in Baraga County in the Western Upper Peninsula. Check out the statue of Bishop Baraga, which stands 35 feet tall and weighs four tons, holding a cross (7 feet high) and snowshoes (26 feet long.)  It floats on a cloud of stainless steel, supported by five laminated wood beams representing Baraga’s five major missions.

isleroyale_web

12. Isle Royale. Last but not least, Isle Royal (Not roy-ale!) Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, ever-changing weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale’s National Park.  Roadless Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.  This is a Pure Michigan destination fit for royalty – if you love the outdoors!

Do you have any Michigan tongue-twisters to add to our list? Tell us below!

Thirteen Reasons to Run Away to Hell (Michigan, That Is!)

Hell is a place in Pure Michigan, not a swear word. So, there is no need to refer to Hell as H-E double hockey sticks. And since there is a real dam in Hell, you are not committing any sins by taking your photo in front of the falling water. Today, Barbara Braden from Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau shares 13 reasons to run away to Hell…Michigan, that is.  

Greetings From Hell1) Check the weather
There is an official US weather observation station here. Is it hotter than Hell, is it colder than Hell? Has Hell frozen over? More print and broadcast meteorologists have written and talked about Hell on severe weather days than any other town in Michigan and beyond. Tony Perkins (the then weather-man for Good Morning America) went to Hell and back to give his weather report. Check the guest book to see the numerous other celebrities that visited.

2) Indulge in the Crematory
Take the Grave Digger ice cream challenge at the cream-a-tory. Many brave souls have tried to finish the tempting pound of ice cream served in a miniature coffin. Oddly, winners of this challenge get a death certificate and join the ranks of the few that have lived to tell the story. To avoid the ice cream headache from Hell, try the make your own sundaes. Dip scary-named toppings like butter-snot, ectoplasm, and scare-a-mel out of an authentic coffin. 

"The Grave Digger" - Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

“The Grave Digger” – Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

3) Get Elected
Someone once said, Politicians in Hell… well it’s a good start. You can join the unofficial politicians from Hates by opting to be Mayor of Hell for a day. “His (or Her) Honor the Mayor” takes on a whole new meaning when your constituents (or is it minions) are from Hell. Politics aside, if you are the Mayor of Hell, you don’t have to keep any campaign promises.

4) Matriculate
Tired of boring scholarly types bragging about their prestigious degrees? Join the many proud alumni from Damnation University and you can laude your own credentials. You will definitely set yourself apart from the masses when you arrive in your Dam U collegiate sweatshirt. And when they raise their learned eyebrows, you can say… the devil made me do it.

5) Play Miniature Golf
Do you have friends that are continually using their “foot wedge” or claim to have an endless supply of mulligans? Well Hell is the place for those that think the rules don’t apply to them. The whimsical characters along the aptly named holes are sure to prompt a few chuckles.

6) Reach out to Friends or Enemies
Send a scorched postcard card from official US Post Office to an arch enemy and write… “Wish you were here”. Why not mail a gift to a loved one and say you went thru Hell to get it for them. Each April 15th, hundreds of procrastinators descend upon the tiny town to mail their tax returns from Hell. Can you say… audit? All mail from Hell is scorched with real fire because it’s hot down there.

Cookies From Hell

Photo courtesy of Livingston Country CVB

7) Canoe & Kayak
Explore the chain of lakes where your trip can be as short as 2 hours or as long as a full day. Sightings of Blue Herons, turtles basking in the sun, beaver, deer, eagles, and other native wild life are common as you glide alongside serene vistas. There is no need to bring your own canoe or kayak, rentals are available.

8) Dine in Hell’s Kitchen
If you are expecting HOT cuisine you won’t be disappointed by the hottest wings in Hell. Hell’s ovens bake sinfully delicious bread daily and pride themselves in locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets. Take home Smitty’s Hot Sauce from Hell to rekindle memories of your decadent dining.

9) Invest in Real Estate
Yes “Hell’s-Half-Acre” is for sale, by the square inch. You can purchase the official dirt from Hell in a small bottle that comes with a certificate of ownership. It makes a great gift, if you want to give someone a little Hell.

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

10) Get Married
On a cold day in Hell… many couples have “tied the knot” in the Wedding Chapel. Hell’s Facebook page has a gallery of wedding photos featuring the festive nuptials. Mayor Odum Plenty will perform the nuptials and even help with the arrangements. Like the Mayor says, a marriage made in Hell has nowhere to go but up.

11) Photo Opportunities
Who wouldn’t want a true “selfie” from Hell? Or there are always the commemorative departure photos under the Welcome to Hell sign. Even Flat Stanley posed with a friend in Hell. Photo buffs that like light-hearted shots will enjoy the cartoon style cut-outs that frame your face.

Hell Froze Over_00112) It’s a Punster’s Paradise
Weather it is puns or a play on words that you enjoy, Hell is an irreverent inspiration no matter where you turn. And no-one enjoys hearing your “spin” on Hell more that the friendly hellions that work there.

13) You meet the nicest people in Hell
It seems counter intuitive that you would meet nice people in Hell, doesn’t it? But it is true. I love to share the many photos of Hell’s guests because they all look like they are having a wonderful time. I have met people from all over the globe in Hell, and I hope someday I will “See YOU in Hell”.

Barb BardenBarbara Barden is the executive director of the Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Livingston County is home to Hell Michigan, which means Barden gets paid to tell people to “Go to Hell”. But she always is quick to add… she means it in the nicest way. Barden is a graduate of Damnation University and holds a Master’s degree in Procrastination.

How did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 5

We’re happy to share with you another post in our ongoing series of how cities in Michigan got their names. Here is the naming history of five more cities, including one city whose founders’ clever thinking was able to get their city named as county seat. In case you missed them, here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Marquette is surrounded by its past but also by new shops displaying artwork, restaurants serving whitefish, symphonies playing in restored historic structures, and theaters highlighting local and national talent.

 

Marquette

The city of Marquette was founded with a different name. It was first called Worchester by a group of miners from a city by that name in Massachusetts. In 1850, the city was renamed to honor French Jesuit missionary Jaques Marquette, who famously explored the region.

Livonia

The area that is now Livonia was known for its rich soil and abundant harvests, attracting pioneers from New England. It’s believed they named the area after cities of similar names in New York state, Pennsylvania and, possibly, after a region near the Baltic sea comprising present day Estonia and Latvia.

Saginaw

The Sauk Indians originally lived in the Saginaw area before being driven out by the Ojibwe, or Chippewa Indians. The name, however, stuck. Saginaw is believed to mean “where the Sauk were.” The first permanent settlement by those other than the Native Americans began in 1815 on the banks of the Saginaw River.

Temperance

Originally named Bedford Center in 1859,  “Temperance” was suggested by one of the founding land father’s wives, who was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. A petition was sent around, and the name was changed to Temperance. As you might imagine, the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages was prohibited for some time.

Cadillac

The name Cadillac comes from Native American language as “Kautawabet” meaning “Broken Tooth,” after a Potawatamie chief who signed the Great Peace Treaty of 1825. The city was first organized in 1872 and called Clam Lake Village, but a dispute with the village of Sherman ensued over which city would hold the county seat. A group of politicians thought to change the name to Cadillac, after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, an early Michigan explorer and founder of Detroit. Changing the name tricked the legislators, and Cadillac became the “new” county seat.